Of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred…. –1 Chronicles 12:32
A prophet is one who knows his times and what God is trying to say to the people of his times….
Today we need prophetic preachers; not preachers of prophecy merely, but preachers with a gift of prophecy. The word of wisdom is missing. We need the gift of discernment again in our pulpits. It is not ability to predict that we need, but the anointed eye, the power of spiritual penetration and interpretation, the ability to appraise the religious scene as viewed from God’s position, and to tell us what is actually going on….
Where is the man who can see through the ticker tape and confetti to discover which way the parade is headed, why it started in the first place and, particularly, who is riding up front in the seat of honor?…
What is needed desperately today is prophetic insight. Scholars can interpret the past; it takes prophets to interpret the present. Learning will enable a man to pass judgment on our yesterdays, but it requires a gift of clear seeing to pass sentence on our own day….
Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. Of God and Men, 19-22.
“Lord, I pray for that gift of prophetic insight. Move me beyond the knowledge You’ve enabled me to gain through education, reading, and study. I pray that I might lead as one ‘who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the throne.’ Amen.”
A. W. Tozer Sermon: Prophetic Preachers
By Robert Hart
It is not the duty of the clergy to blunt the sharpness, to soften the hammer, to quench the
fire. Woe to the preacher who protects the people from the Word that kills, because he
protects them also from being made alive – truly and forever alive. Woe to the preacher
who acts as a buffer, deflecting the force of the Scriptures to soften the blow, because in
protecting the people from the stroke, he prevents their healing.
If his labors in the pulpit amount to a lifetime of standing between the people and the
word of God, reducing its effect, taming it and making it polite, presentable, and
harmless, he will have nothing to show for it in the end but wood, hay, and stubble,
instead of gold, silver, and precious stones.
If the passages that have been read speak of life and death, then elaborate on life and
death. If they speak of repentance, then preach that men should repent. When they
encourage faith, proclaim faith. When they warn of hell and the judgment to come, then
blow the trumpet as a faithful watchman on the walls. When they comfort, speak as a
pastor who feeds the sheep.
Let the meaning of the Scriptures be expounded to their full effect; proclaim from them
the truth that affects the eternal destiny of the souls in your care. It is far easier to preach
if a man will ride the Scriptures like a wave, letting them make their own point and arrive
“A Broken Man or Woman can not ever have ultimate solutions for broken people and the society they live in! Only a Perfect Man can offer Perfect Solutions to Broken people!! Only a Perfect Fixed Point of Reference can point clearly without error to the problems of Society!! And in doing so will at the same time give us the perfect solution!!” (RIGO)
Living an Exchanged Life #AWTOZER
A GREAT PREACHER WHOM I HEARD a few years ago said that the word “renew” in Isaiah 40:31 really meant “exchange”; so the text should read, “They that wait upon the Lord shall exchange their strength.” Oddly enough I do not now remember how he developed his sermon or just how he applied the text, but I have been thinking lately that the man had hit upon a very important idea; namely, that a large part of Christian experience consists of exchanging something worse for something better, a blessed and delightful bargain indeed. At the foundation of the Christian life lies vicarious atonement, which in essence is a transfer of guilt from the sinner to the Saviour. I well know how vigorously this idea is attacked by non-Christians, but I also know that the wise of this world in their pride often miss the treasures which the simple-hearted find on their knees; and I also remember the words of the apostle: “He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21). This is too plain to miss for anyone who is not willfully blind: Christ by His death on the cross made it possible for the sinner to exchange his sin for Christ’s righteousness. It’s that simple. No one is compelled to accept it, but at least that is what it means. And that is only the beginning. Almost everything thereafter is an exchange of the worse for the better. Next after the exchange of sin for righteousness is that of wrath for acceptance. Today the wrath of God abides upon a sinning and impenitent man; tomorrow God’s smile rests upon him. He is the same man, but not quite, for he is now a new man in Christ Jesus. By penitence and faith he has exchanged the place of condemnation for the Father’s house. He was rejected in himself but is now accepted in the Beloved, and this not by human means but by an act of divine grace. Then comes the exchange of death for life. Christ died for dead men that they might rise to be living men. Paul’s happy if somewhat involved testimony makes this clear: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20) . This is mysterious but not incredible. It is one more example of how the ways of God and the ways of man diverge. Man is a born cobbler. When he wants a thing to be better he goes to work to improve it. He improves cattle by careful breeding; cars and planes by streamlining; health by diet, vitamins. and surgery; plants by grafting; people by education. But God will have none of this cobbling. He makes a man better by making him a new man. He imparts a higher order of life and sets to work to destroy the old. Then as suggested in the Isaiah text, the Christian exchanges weakness for strength. I suppose it is not improper to say that God makes His people strong, but we must understand this to mean that they become strong in exact proportion to their weakness, the weakness being their own and the strength God’s. “When I am weak, then am I strong,” is the way Paul said it, and in so saying set a pattern for every Christian. Actually the purest saint at the moment of his greatest strength is as weak as he was before his conversion. What has happened is that he has switched from his little human battery to the infinite power of God. He has guile literally exchanged weakness for strength, but the strength is not his; it flows into him from God as long as he abides in Christ. One of the heaviest problems in the Christian life is that of sanctification: how to become as pure as we know we ought to be and must be if we are to enjoy intimate communion with a holy God. The classic expression of this problem and its solution is found in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, chapters seven and eight. The cry, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” receives the triumphant answer, “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” No one who has given attention to the facts will deny that it is altogether possible for a man to attain to a high degree of external morality if he sets his heart to it. Marcus Aurelius, the pagan emperor, for instance, lived a life of such exalted morality as to make most of us Christians ashamed, as did also the lowly slave Epictetus; but holiness was something of which they were totally ignorant. And it is holiness that the Christian heart yearns far above all else, and holiness the human heart can never capture by itself. A. B. Simpson knew by experience the unavailing struggle to be holy, and he knew also the Bible way to holiness. In a little hymn composed to be spoken at the conclusion of one of his sermons he states it this way: I take Him as my holiness, My spirit’s spotless, heavenly dress; I take “The Lord my righteousness, I take, He undertakes. We have but to abandon the effort to be holy and trust God to do the work within us. He will surely undertake. There are many other happy exchanges we Christians may make if we will, among them being our ignorance for His knowledge, our folly for His wisdom, our demerit for His merit, our sad mortality for His blessed immortality and faith for sight at last.
IF OUR FAITH IS TO HAVE A firm foundation we must be convinced beyond any possible doubt that God is altogether worthy of our trust. This conviction must be more than a tenet of our creed to which we give nominal assent. It must penetrate the profoundest depths of our spirits; it must get through all outward forms to the eternal substance of which our beings are composed, that sacred stuff which was once made in the image of God. As long as we question the wisdom of any of God’s ways, our faith is still tentative and uncertain. While we are able to understand, we are not quite believing. Faith enters when there is no supporting evidence to corroborate God’s word of promise and we must put our confidence blindly in the character of the One who made the promise. Faith that asked no proof was manifested by our Lord when He was enduring His ordeal of agony on the cross. Though rejected and forsaken, and in His great pain and weakness tempted to wonder how it could be thus with Him, His faith found its rest in the holiness of God: “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” Though the whole world shouted against God and every testimony of the senses was against His goodness and love, Christ knew God was holy and could do no wrong, so He would bear the agony until His Father released Him. Here was faith in its most perfect expression. The faith that made the sun stand still or brought down fire from heaven was elementary compared with this. Remember that faith is not a noble quality found only in superior men. It is not a virtue attainable by a limited few. It is not the ability to persuade ourselves that black is white or that something we desire will come to pass if we only wish hard enough. Faith is simply the bringing of our minds into accord with the truth. It is adjusting our expectations to the promises of God in complete assurance that the God of the whole earth cannot lie. A man looks at a mountain and affirms, “That is a mountain.” There is no particular virtue in the affirmation. It is simply accepting the fact that stands before him and bringing his belief into accord with the fact. The man does not create the mountain by believing, nor could he annihilate it by denying. And so with the truth of God. The believing man accepts a promise of God as a fact as solid as a mountain and vastly more enduring. His faith changes nothing except his own personal relation to the word of promise. God’s Word is true whether we believe it or not. Human unbelief cannot alter the character of God. Faith is subjective, but it is sound only when it corresponds with objective reality. The man’s faith in the mountain is valid only because the mountain is there; otherwise it would be mere imagination and would need to be sharply corrected to rescue the man from harmful delusion. So God is what He is in Himself. He does not become what we believe. “I AM That I AM.” We are on safe ground only when we know what kind of God He is and adjust our entire being to the holy concept. Since true faith rests upon what God is, it is of utmost importance that, to the limit of our comprehension, we know what He is. “They that know thy name will put their trust in thee.” The name of God is the verbal expression of His character, and confidence always rises or falls with known character. What the psalmist said was simply that they who know God to be the kind of God He is will put their confidence in Him. This is not a special virtue, I repeat, but the normal direction any mind takes when confronted with the fact. We are so made that we trust good character and distrust its opposite. That is why unbelief is so intensely wicked. “He that believeth not God hath made him a liar.” The character of God is the Christian’s final ground of assurance and the solution of many, if not most, of his practical religious problems. Some persons, for instance, believe that God answered prayer in Bible times but will not do so today, and others hold that the miracles of olden days can never be repeated. To believe so is to deny or at least to ignore almost everything God has revealed about Himself. We must remember that God always acts like Himself. He has never at any time anywhere in the vasty universe acted otherwise than in character with His infinite perfections. This knowledge should be a warning to the enemies of God, and it cannot but be an immense consolation to His friends. Though God dwells in the center of eternal mystery, there need be no uncertainty about how He will act in any situation covered by His promises. These promises are infallible predictions. God will always do what He has promised to do when His conditions are met. And His warnings are no less predictive: “The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous” (Psa. 1:5). In the light of all this how vain is the effort to have faith by straining to believe the promises in the Holy Scriptures. A promise is only as good as the one who made it, but it is as good, and from this knowledge springs our assurance. By cultivating the knowledge of God we at the same time cultivate our faith. Yet while so doing we look not at our faith but at Christ, its author and finisher. Thus the gaze of the soul is not in, but out and up to God. So the health of the soul is secured.